World Food Programme Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Samaritan’s Purse International Relief holds a two-day workshop in Bong County to enhance project implementation and smallholder food production skills of stakeholders, including implementing partners, local government counterparts and beneficiaries.
The workshop is under the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project or SHAD-P initiative. Implemented by Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, SHAD-P is funded by the Japanese Government through the World Food Programme.
The project aims to support smallholder farmers in Bong in promoting resilience agriculture practices for staple food production. More practically, the initiative seeks to support vulnerable women and youths from approximately 1,200 households with the goal to organize them into viable agricultural producer groups; increase access to improved farming inputs and agro-processing technologies; and assist them to rehabilitate and utilize productive ariable lands including small-scale irrigation facilities for increased production of rice and other staple food crops.
Speaking at the start of the workshop Monday, Bong County Agriculture Coordinator, Kollie R. Nahn urges farmers to focus more on lowland production as doing so is in line with the government’s objectives to make Liberia self-sufficient in food production specifically rice, assuring that the Ministry of Agriculture will continue to support farmers to ensure that challenges they face are resolved on a timely basis.
WFP Programme Policy Officer Michael Musili, encourages farmers to always become the best producers in order to help avert the huge importation of rice Liberia is currently experiencing.
He says WFP will always stand by smallholder producers to grow not only the food their families need but to also sell the surplus and earn income to meet other dietary and family needs. “WFP is here to facilitate, to work with government and partners to help farmers produce food they consume and be the best among the best.”
National Programme Policy Officer, Lonnie A. Herring, says: “One key purpose of this workshop is to afford all partners the opportunity to demonstrate WFP’s concept on food for asset (FFA) creation as well as understanding their roles in the implementation of Japanese supplementary food aid project.”
Mr Lonnie specifically emphasizes the workshop focuses on defining stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities, and scope of the project’s implementation; increasing the knowledge and understanding of the food assistance for asset creation concepts in line with WFP standard of operation procedures (SOPs); and providing a unique opportunity for stakeholders to interact and share best practices on the efforts of agriculture activities along the staple food value chain.
Sixty (60) participants drawn from a pool of key stakeholders from the Ministries of Agriculture and Internal Affairs, Central Agricultural Research Institute, the Samaritan’s Purse International as well as farmer representatives from 15 Communities, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Bong Community College reportedly attended. Editing by Jonathan Browne